Top 10 sunglasses for women: Hot, trendy looks
When you see someone with perfectly pulled together street style, their sunglasses are often the first thing you see. The right pair of shades can add flare to whatever you’re wearing.
Whether you prefer mid-century chic or oversize mod, the newest sunglasses on the market offer endless ways to protect your eyes and have fun while you’re at it.
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Here are a few themes we’re spotting on trendsetters with an eye for casting shade – in the best way.
1. Oversized frames
Big sunglasses are in – shades that extend beyond the hairline and take up a third of your face – especially acetate frames with a wide, flat profile and really big bridge.
If you must choose just one with this oversize profile, go for black with smoky lenses. But we’re seeing them in all colors, particularly pastels and neutrals. Beyoncé was recently spotted in chunky lavender cat-eye frames.
2. Classic white
Ever since 1955 when Grace Kelly slid into her beach chair beside Cary Grant on the French Riviera in “To Catch a Thief,” white frames with dark lenses have epitomized beachside chic.
Betty Draper might have worn these white frames in early seasons of “Mad Men.” By the late 1960s, white frames were getting bigger and bolder. If ’60s mod is your style, here’s a way to get the chunky round frames look that Audrey Hepburn favored then.
A half white semi-rimless frame gives you a more refined, cutting edge sculptural look with a pop of color. White frames are especially flattering against golden skin tones, which is probably one reason Rihanna and Beyoncé often show up in white frames.
Rihanna likes both skinny white frames with dark lenses and funky squares with a slight cat eye tilt. Beyoncé favors ’60s-mod oval frames.
3. Tortoiseshells reinvented
The golden flecks of classic tortoiseshell look great on anyone with reddish/gold highlights. But tortoiseshell is popping up lately in endless variations, from ivory to marbled to paint-speckled.
Animal print tortoiseshell looks most elegant in retro styles like RFLKT Sunwear shades, as does the more avant-garde purples and greens of Hideout or Sarasota in shiny abalone.
4. Uni-lens shields
Cutout shield sunglasses are a look favored by exotic spotlight lovers. Model Bella Hadid and R&B divas Rihanna and CardiB have all been spotted in uni-lens shield shades this year, sometimes with colorful, gradient lenses, sometimes big enough to double as goggles. It’s a bold look.
5. Softened brow-lines
Original 1950s brow-line frames were masculine bold black with rimless bottoms. But recent versions such as The Hamptons have a smaller profile inspired by the clubmaster look, which looks particularly good on women.
Look for a brow line softened by striated matte frames textured to look like wood, or transparent neutrals – smoky round lenses in beige wood or rose-colored glasses with champagne pink frames.
6. Beads and faux pearls
Textured frames are showing up everywhere. Dolce & Gabanna added a reflective pyramid texture to the acetate in these chunky square frames with gradient lenses. Beaded detailing is appearing in metal frames, such as in Quay’s Breeze In sunglasses with their ornate, rounded hexagon frames.
Blake Lively has been spotted in Chanel sunglasses with mirror lenses in round pink beaded metal frames. Chanel also offers those round lenses with graduated faux pearls (à la Coco Chanel herself) on just the upper half.
A variation on this theme: black and white stripes along the top of a cat eye, like these by Bulgari.
Aviator sunglasses with their signature teardrop lens, invisible frames and nose pads remain popular since they were invented for fighter pilots during WWII – and not just because they look cool.
They still do what they were originally designed to do: Stay lightly, comfortably and securely in place while you fly around like a mad woman. Increasingly they’re showing up with a bit of feminine styling, such as pink and orange mirror lenses.
That classic top bar is appearing on every style of sunnies, including the ever-popular retro round lenses with tortoiseshell frames like Lucky Brand’s Montana or the brushed metal of the Fila. Jennifer Lopez prefers her aviators oversized with gradient lenses.
8. Temple details
Jewel-like embellishments are appearing at the temples of the trendiest sunglasses, often with nature themes. Tiny gold flowers and insects – bees or butterflies – are landing just above or even right on the lens.
Coach has floral details at the temples on the wire frame of a cat’s eye and the wing tip of the lens in their butterfly frame.
A sleeker bit of temple jewelry appears like a gold or silver slash across these Ralph cat eyes by Ralph Lauren.
9. Cat eyes
Exaggerated cat-eye sunglasses remain a big trend, whether ultra-compact or boldly oversized. At their most angular, cat eyes capture the urban chic of 1950s Manhattan, the look captured in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Beyoncé frequently appears in colorful cat eyes – chunky rounded lavender or classic ’50s-style crimson red. Gigi Hadid updates the cat eye in her Super collection designed for Vogue, with faux diamond accents at the temples.
10. Mirror coatings
Orange, green and blue mirror-coated lenses have a functional purpose, especially for sporty types. They can increase contrast and depth perception, among other things. But let’s face it, they also look cool.
It takes a youthful spirit to pull off the fuschia-pink mirror coatings we’ve been seeing this year, as well as a taste for the spotlight. JLo favors mirror lenses in oversized frames, rounded square frames with purple gradient lenses or aviators with orange lenses.
Some eye-care professionals are applying custom mirror coatings to their lenses in different intensities and colors. In addition to an added layer of protection from glare, mirror coatings add a bit of color – from lavender to rose gold to black – particularly effective on paler colored lenses.
READY TO SHOP FOR SUNGLASSES? Find an optical store near you.
Start by checking your face shape and then try on a variety of shades. Explore different colors and styles. Find the sunglasses that best reflect your personality and lifestyle.
Page published in September 2019
Page updated in March 2021